Businesses that put a premium on delivering a differentiated CX need to put a premium on their employees first.

There is a direct correlation between feeling valued and adding value. Companies that understand that the customer experience begins with the employee experience are those at the forefront of their industries. 

The New Year arrives as the U.S. labor pool has never been smaller – unemployment rates are at an all-time low – and competition between organisations to attract talent has never been greater.

Employee engagement is a question of culture

But businesses need to remember that engaging employees and inspiring them to deliver to the best of their abilities has little to do with benefits packages and starting salaries. It’s about business culture. Unless you can create and maintain an environment where employees feel empowered, know that they have a voice and have a clear understanding not only of what they need to do, but of how their role is driving the company forward, then your best people are going to start updating their resumes. 

As an organisation that understands what’s necessary to maintain a leadership position, we’ve always invested heavily in our employee experience, whether through leveraging the latest digital tools to deliver training and access to lifelong learning, or the latest design approaches to ensure our contact centres are inviting, comfortable and spaces where people want to work. This is also why at a structural level we’ve removed layers of hierarchy in favour of creating small teams.

Taking a joined up approach

However, to really have the biggest positive impact on employee engagement, an organisation needs to take a holistic approach – one that considers all elements and all employees and one that is well-communicated so it becomes baked into business culture.

This is the genesis of Sitel MAX –My Associate eXperience. It turns our 75,000 employees into a global community complete with their own digital platform, for actively creating and continually refining the employee experience. As well as being a space where the latest digital tools and processes that could simplify people’s jobs can be examined, it is also a forum for understanding, discussing and sharing opinions about the future direction of the enterprise and on the changing face of the industry.

Different paths but the same conclusion

To put your employees at the heart of your organisation doesn’t necessarily mean building a digital platform but it does mean putting clear systems and processes in place for monitoring employee engagement and for employees to provide feedback, express concerns or raise issues. No one knows better than the person doing a job what tools or methods would make it easier. The information needed to make worthwhile changes should be bottom up, while support for initiatives should be top down. It has to be sponsored at board level and every manager has to be seen to actively support this culture.

Whichever path you take to increase employee engagement, the goal should be the same – a workforce that understands their roles and has the training and tools to execute them; is recognised for doing good work; understands how their roles are helping to drive the company and the direction in which the company is moving; that trusts their managers and trusts that their voices are being heard; and that has scope for personal and professional development.

Jim Flynn

Jim Flynn is Chief HR Officer at Sitel Group